How to Develop Unbreakable Discipline
If you take these lessons to heart and learn what not to do, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. In this article, I will share two mental model frameworks that have made me successful in my many endeavors in life and can make you more successful. This seven-part framework for developing unbreakable discipline and the six-step process for winning the battle against procrastination can be life-changing for those that struggle with staying disciplined.
The Biological You and The Resistance
Steven Pressfield named the biological you the most potent weapon in his book The War of Art. He called it the resistance, which he described as a universal force with one mission: to keep things exactly as they are. The resistance achieves this by any means necessary, but in particular, by rationalizing, inspiring fear or anxiety, emphasizing other distractions that require attention, or raising the voice of your inner critic.
You have personally experienced the resistance if you’ve ever sat down to do work and then been hit with internal excuses of self-talk like “I’m not feeling inspired,” “I’m just too tired,” “It’s not the right time, right now,” “I’m not ready, I need to do more planning and research,” Most people succumb to these excuses and switch to a more straightforward, low-effort task, which gives the illusion of being productive, but you’re not. It’s like watering a fake plant; you’re busy but ineffective in combating the resistance.
The Two Weapons: Motivation and Discipline
Most people rely on motivation in the battle against the biological you. They wait until they feel motivated to go to the gym, eat healthily, write that book, call a loved one, or brush their teeth. The mental tool that overcomes internal resistance is discipline, which is simply the ability to make yourself do things at the moment you don’t necessarily want to do so that you can achieve something in the future that you do want. Discipline is the inner habit of doing what needs to be done based on your rules and goal framework.
The Seven-Part Framework for Developing Unbreakable Discipline
- Treat every decision as essential: The beauty and power of this framework are that it builds the habit of thinking of every decision as vital because he who can be entrusted with the small things can be entrusted with the big stuff.
- You don’t have to love it; do it anyway: You will likely never feel ready when doing hard things. The key to achieving incredible results is always taking action despite your feelings.
- Remove temptations: Focus is the ability to resist distractions. Spend some time intentionally designing your environment to eliminate and reduce distractions from ever appearing in the first place.
- Become the master and the servant: Imagine that you’re two people: current you and future you. Current you’s job is to tell future you what to do and when to do it. Utilize a tool called time-blocking to design the perfect next day for future you and then schedule each task on the calendar.
- Identify why: Avoiding pain is simple if you take the time on the front end to cultivate a deep emotional attachment to why you should do the hard thing.
- Develop a daily discipline practice: Discipline is a muscle you strengthen by regularly stressing. You can make yourself do the hard thing by developing a daily discipline practice, such as doing a short-term task that moves you toward long-term goals, forcing yourself to sit down and write, or going for a run. This is how you live a life by design, not by default.
Developing unbreakable discipline is crucial for achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. Discipline is the key to overcoming procrastination, staying focused, and pushing through difficult times. It requires committing to action and staying consistent in your efforts, even when you don’t feel like it. Developing discipline takes time and practice, but the results are worth it. By setting clear goals, creating a plan of action, and holding yourself accountable, you can build unbreakable discipline that will carry you through any challenge. With discipline, you can achieve anything you set your mind to and become the best version of yourself.
The Six-Step Process for Winning the Battle Against Procrastination
- Step 1: Become aware that you’re delaying: Knowing you’re delaying something is the first step in winning the battle against procrastination.
- Step 2: Identify why you’re delaying: The second step is to identify why. Is it because the task seems overwhelming? Are you afraid of failure? Do you lack motivation?
- Step 3: Break the task into smaller parts: The third step is to break the task into smaller parts. This makes it easier to manage and less overwhelming.
- Step 4: Set a deadline for each part: The fourth step is to set a deadline for each part. This provides a sense of urgency and helps you stay on track.
- Step 5: Use a timer to work in short bursts: The fifth step is to use a timer to work in short bursts. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one part of the task during that time. Take a five-minute break, then repeat the process.
- Step 6: Reward yourself when you’re finished: The final step is to reward yourself at completion. This reinforces the behavior and makes you more likely to do it again.
Overcoming procrastination is not easy, but it’s possible. The key is to develop discipline and focus on your goals. You can overcome procrastination and achieve greatness by asking essential questions, defining your objectives, setting tiny goals, and getting started. Remember, the goal isn’t to be perfect but to make daily progress. You can achieve anything you want with time, discipline, and focus.
Developing unbreakable discipline and winning the battle against procrastination are two essential skills that can help you achieve anything you want. By treating every decision as though it’s important, making yourself do the hard thing, removing temptations, becoming the master and the servant, identifying your why, and developing a daily discipline practice, you can develop unbreakable discipline. By becoming aware that you’re delaying, identifying why, breaking the task into smaller parts, setting a deadline for each part, using a timer to work in short bursts, and rewarding yourself when you’re finished, you can win the battle against procrastination.